If any of this particular column sounds familiar, I will admit to a little recycling from one I wrote a couple years ago.
It’s Spring and baseball and softball seasons are underway, so I thought it would be appropriate to point out some lessons learned in the past — along with a few new insights I’ve picked up along the way.
As I’ve said before, sports has never been something I’ve excelled at, nor have I ever really followed sports. I do remember playing backyard games of baseball, though, summers where local kids and I would spend our days playing ball with improvised bases and equipment.
But my kids are naturals when it comes to sports. My daughter, Lucy, is at home on the softball field and has played this year for the Davison High School freshman softball team. My son, Sam, likes just about any sport involving a ball and running. He is on a Davison Youth Baseball team and in the Fall and Winter enjoys football and basketball.
I’ve made it a point to make as many of their games as I can. For me these past few years have been a complete reeducation on the game and an introduction to the world of organized sports.
I like to think I’ve worked my way up from complete novice to “starting to get it” when it comes to sports.
Along the way I’ve managed to learn a few things from the sidelines:
• Don’t block the view of others. I’m not real good on sports etiquette. A couple years ago I was given a crash course in appropriate behavior when I was up out of my seat, pressing against the fence, rooting for my kids. That was until one day a kindly older gentleman came and tapped me on the shoulder to say, “Hey, we can’t see around you. Do you think you could sit down?” He even offered me up one of his lawn chairs. Was I embarrassed.
• Don’t complain you have to go to more than one game a night. Both kids have games right now on the same nights. As a result I have found myself running from one game to the next, sometimes twice a week. This year has been pretty good so far, their games seem to fall mostly on opposite nights. Now if I could just get their game schedules to co-exist with my work schedule, it would be great.
• Learn to read the schedules.
You need to be proficient in
Excel spreadsheets to figure out how these team schedules work! I’ve ended up on the wrong field at the wrong time twice now because I misread the schedule. I am learning to use enlarged printouts and highlighters.
• When yelling from the sidelines to support your kids, it’s also good to know who all the other kids are so you can support them as well. I’ve seen some parents who will give a shoutout to every kid, which I think is really nice, but I can’t remember all their names. These enthusiastic parents even have nicknames for the kids. The best I can do is yell: “Go Number 17! Woo Hoo!”
The best thing I’ve gotten out of my kids’ spring softball and baseball is seeing the joy they get out of playing the game.
They come visit me and want to do things like play catch outside or practice batting, which I enjoy doing because not only does it make them better players — it gives us a chance to take part in their new favorite pastime together.